Ten to Chi to Hito to (The Sky, the Earth, and People)
|Ingredients||Sweet potatoes, rice koji|
|Distillation||Normal pressed distillation|
|Koji||Kuro koji (black koji)|
“The Sky, the Earth, and People” is Kojika Shuzo’s spirit of Shochu making.
Spring water, polished underground after pouring from the “sky”, sweet potatoes grown in the earth, and the traditional technique of Satsuma (Kagoshima area) that has been passed down by generations of people. It wouldn’t be Kojika shochu without any of them. This implies an appreciation of nature in Kagoshima.
The single distillation sweet potato shochu “The Sky, the Earth, and People” uses kuro koji (black koji) made of Japanese domestic rice, sweet potato nurtured with care by the Kojika Agricultural Co-Operative, and the spring water from Mt. Kunimi in Ōsumi Peninsula carefully distilled and aged in earthenware pots. It’s the shochu absolutely brewed by pure “sky”, “earth”, and “people”. The characteristic being a deep sweetness that spreads in your mouth and seasoning that’s unique to the earthenware pot aging.
Suggested Way to Drink
Oyuwari (Mixed With Hot Water)
The best way to enjoy the taste and aroma of earthenware pot-aged shochu is oyuwari. Although the alcohol content is 30%, strong oyuwari tastes amazing lukewarm. If it’s too strong, mix more lukewarm water in.
Served with water and/or On the Rocks
Have it slowly while letting the ice swim. If you also add a little bit of water, it enhances the sweetness. Mixing a generous amount of water won’t diminish the flavor but having it strong is recommended.
Snacks and Side Dishes
I personally like sprinkling kinako (roasted soybean flour) on nuggets of brown sugar. Hiyayakko (tofu served cold) is also chic. Kagoshima natives can use their usual shoyu (soy-sauce) over hiyayakko. For those not from the area, use a generous amount of katsuobushi (bonito flakes), pouring sashimi jyoyu* on top to enjoy Kagoshima style. If you’re having it with sashimi, fatty fish is better suited than those that are more subtle.
* A type of shoyu made especially for sashimi
Tips and Additional Background
“The Sky, the Earth, and People” is 30% ABV rather than 25% ABV but it’s not an undiluted spirit as we were concerned it would then be served “on the rocks” or mixed with water.
“The Sky, the Earth, and People” is earthenware pot-aged for 2 years. People might wonder, “Why not longer?”. However, too much is as bad as too little. We judged that 2 years is the best time length to draw out the sweet potato flavor in aged shochu. If aged longer than 3 years, we could label it as “long aged shochu” but we thought it’s better to be tasty than having a title!